Amnesty International on human rights problems in Ukraine
23 May saw the official publication of Amnesty Internationals annual report. At a press conference held in Kyiv, head of Amnesty International in Ukraine Nataliya Dulneva spoke of some of the key elements in the report.
Not surprisingly Ukraine came in for heavy criticism over its illegal deportation in February 2006 of 11 asylum seekers. As Ms Dulneva relates:
“On the night of 14 February 2006 11 asylum seekers were forcibly deported to Uzbekistan. The latter had asked for their extradition alleging their involvement in the events in May 2005 in Andijon when enforcement agencies opened fire on peaceful demonstrators. Hundreds were killed.
The Uzbek nationals were deported from Ukraine and the majority, after unfair trials, received fairly harsh prison sentences. It can be said therefore, that Ukraine handed them over to their torturers.”
Other aspects of Ukraines human rights record that AI focuses on include prisoners rights. Of particular concern is the high prevalence of tuberculosis in Ukrainian penal institutions.
In general, AI criticizes the conditions in pre-trial detention units [SIZO] and the treatment of detainees.
Another area of major concern is that of torture. The section on Ukraine states:
“Steps towards the eradication of torture and ill-treatment included a Ministry of Internal Affairs order in April that all detainees must be informed of their rights. However, the police did not subsequently receive instructions on how to carry out the order. In September, Ukraine ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, which requires independent national preventive mechanisms to monitor all places of detention.
Of six cases of alleged torture or ill-treatment raised by AI with the authorities in Ukraine in September 2005, prosecutions were brought against police officers in only two cases”.
AI also criticizes the lack of progress into the Gongadze case, and points to an increase in racist and anti-Semitic attacks.
This is an extremely brief outline since the report is well worth reading in full and can be accessed at: